According to projections, France’s re-elected President Emmanuel Macron clearly missed the absolute majority in the National Assembly with his center camp. In the final round of the parliamentary elections on Sunday, the Liberals came to 230 to 250 of the 577 seats. The new left alliance, led by left-wing politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon, will have 165 to 175 seats in parliament. At least 289 seats were needed for an absolute majority.
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The result is a heavy blow for Macron, whose camp still has an absolute majority in parliament. Normally, the parliamentary elections held shortly after the presidential election are seen as a confirmation, so that the same political force often wins with an absolute majority.
The new left-wing alliance, on the other hand, has enjoyed enormous success, giving it more influence as the most powerful opposition group. “This is a total debacle of the presidential party,” said Mélenchon on Sunday evening. Mélenchon also spoke of an “electoral defeat of Macronism”. He renewed the claim of the left-wing alliance he led to want to govern the country. “All options are in your hands,” he shouted in front of cheering supporters.
According to the projections, the right-wing nationalist Rassemblement National party recorded spectacular growth, whose top candidate Marine Le Pen Macron lost in the final round of the presidential election. She got 80 to 100 seats, at least ten times as many as before, and will probably be the third strongest party in parliament.
“It’s a tsunami,” said party president Jordan Bardella on Sunday evening on TF1. The French people have made President Emmanuel Macron a minority president, Bardella added.
“The people have spoken out, they are sending a very strong group from the Rassemblement National to the National Assembly,” said Le Pen. The aim is to force Macron into a minority and to vigorously oppose Macron and the left-wing alliance led by in parliament Left-wing politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
A bitter defeat for the strongest opposition force so far
The hitherto strongest opposition force in parliament and the traditional People’s Party of the Republicans plus allies came to 60 to 78 seats, a bitter defeat. However, Macron’s government could now turn more to the bourgeois-conservative Républicains when seeking support in parliament.
In the parliamentary elections, Macron was concerned with whether he would be able to implement his plans in his second term. For that he needs a majority in Parliament. With a now only relative majority, the president and government are forced to seek support from other camps. The last time there was such a government was under François Mitterrand (1988-1991).
Even if many French people were dissatisfied with Macron’s first term in office, the 44-year-old benefited from the fact that the parliamentary elections in France were perceived as confirmation of the presidential election. Traditionally, supporters of the winner take part in the voting, while others often stay at home.
The disadvantage of the left-wing alliance was the complicated electoral system, which led to sometimes serious differences between the percentage of votes and the distribution of seats. In the end, only the votes for the winner in the respective constituency count.
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Despite only a relative majority for the Macron camp, Germany and Europe will ultimately continue to be able to count on France as a reliable partner. In the Ukraine conflict, France will undoubtedly remain an integral part of the West’s united front against the aggressor Russia.
In France, important projects are waiting to be implemented: improvements in education and health care are being called for, people are waiting for purchasing power support in the crisis and many want more energetic steps in the climate crisis. In addition, Macron wants to push through a controversial pension reform, the French should work longer.
The election was also a long-distance duel between two very different political characters. On the one hand, the 44-year-old eloquent president and ex-investment banker Macron. On the international stage he acts as a sovereign leader, but on a national level he struggles with an image as an arrogant elite politician. Opposite him was the left veteran Mélenchon, a shrewd left ideologue and strategist who sees himself as an advocate of the people and social justice. (dpa)